“Women Fashion Power” was a Zaha Hadid-designed show at London’s Design Museum a few years ago and it could easily have been the title of Simone Rocha’s fall collection. Rocha has built her business on statement clothing, but in the past those designs have tended toward the ethereal.
This season, she dialed down the dreaminess and marched into new territory with a lineup of military-inspired clothing and voluminous faux furs — protective clothing for challenging times. Even Rocha’s flowers — chunky crochet leather appliqués on coats or colored embroidery on sheer tulle and organza dresses — served a practical, as well as a decorative, purpose.
“It was my version of camouflage — all that deep floral foliage coming together, and then almost becoming this tapestry, this idea of protection,” said Rocha, who opened her show with oversized, belted military coats done in heavy, bonded velvet, and skirt suits in olive satin, both with oversized patch pockets.
Those don’t-mess-with-me looks gave way to softer ones — but even they had a dark edge. Colored flowers — in yellow or red — blossomed over sheer black dresses, some of which were layered under chunky fur capes or over white dresses, while fat fur ribbons or bows dangled from tops and jackets.
It was a confident collection enhanced by the weird and wonderful volumes — Rocha’s belted fur coats were big enough to envelop the Michelin Man — but also by the models, who ranged from the youthful to the mature, including 73-year-old Benedetta Barzini.
Rocha said the idea for the casting stemmed from her reflections on who she is as a designer and the idea of femininity. “I want to be very inclusive – it’s what I do. My collections are for all different types of women, and I really wanted to reflect that. It is 100 percent mothers, daughters, granddaughters. It’s something that I’ve really built my identity on, so it was nice to be able to share that this time.”